It is not often a demon graces our fair city, but last week I was given the dubious pleasure of interviewing a relatively even-tempered balor that was on “business trip.” The fiend was spending its days lurking inside a factory within the Towers of Thul consulting on a mystical device being manufactured in its name. Our discussion covered topics from demonic politics to their favorite food. As horrible as its life sounded, what astounded me most is that the balor was happy. Even when its life was filled with violence, pain, and depravity, the creature found reasons to smile. Its fondest memory was the act of force-feeding an ogre to a giant , a feat of physical prowess I’d prefer to leave to my imagination.
~ Jayce Jones, Lead Editor of the Cosmic Chronicle
5th Edition is filled with all manner of dangerous foes, but one stands out from the crowd as the pinnacle of the system’s monster design. Open your Monster Manual to page 55 and you will discover what I consider the best statistics block in all of official 5e: the balor. Putting aside the balor’s spectacular lore and iconic “Balrog” design, we are left with a robust creation that exemplifies 5e’s greatest design principles in one tidy package. You may think this hyperbolic, but this author is firmly of the opinion the balor is the gold standard of creature design to which all other 5e creations should be held. Why is this, you may ask. Well, let us count the ways.